Joseph Brooks PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 June 2011 07:54

Joseph Brooks

Born: March 11, 1938 New York

Died: May 22, 2011, New York

Age:  73

Cause of death: Suicide - asphyxia by helium .

Famous because: Joseph Brooks wrote Grammy winning  'You light up my life' - one of the biggest hits of 1977 for Debby Boone, selling 4 Million units and, in his 70's, went on to become a casting couch rapist, accused of several predatory sexual assaults before killing himself on the eve of his trial for rape. (It cant be wrong when it feels so right.) Five Months earlier his son was charged with killing his girlfriend in the Swank Hotel in SoHo.

Joseph Brooks was an American screenwriter, director, producer, and composer. He composed the song "You Light Up My Life" for the film of the same name that he also wrote, directed, and produced. In his later years he became the subject of an investigation after being accused of a series of casting-couch rapes. He was indicted in 2009, but committed suicide on May 22, 2011, before he could be brought to trial.

n the 1960s, Brooks composed advertising jingles for clients including Pepsi ("You've Got a Lot to Live") and Maxwell House ("Good to the Last Drop Feeling"). He received numerous Clio Awards for his work, as well as a People's Choice Award.

In October 1977 "You Light Up My Life" reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts and held the top position for 10 consecutive weeks, then the longest #1 run in the chart's history. With sales of over four million copies in the U.S. alone, the song ultimately became the biggest hit of the 1970s. It also hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and was even a top 10 country single. The passionate ballad also earned Brooks a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe Award and an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Award. The song was Debby Boone's first solo hit record and only top 40 pop hit.

Brooks alsoJoseph Brooks composed music for the film The Lords of Flatbush and co-produced Eddie and the Cruisers. He also directed other films and Broadway shows, including In My Life. Then, after "Life", he was hit with a stroke, which stopped him from composing and writing music and his world changed.

Brooks' brother is Gilbert Kaplan, an amateur Mahler scholar who founded Institutional Investor magazine. Brooks and ex-wife Susan Paul had two children: Amanda was born in 1981 and Nicholas was born five years later. At the time of Brooks' death, Nicholas, a former student at the University of Colorado, was awaiting trial in New York City, charged with the murder of his girlfriend, swimwear designer Sylvie Cachay.

In June 2009, Joseph Brooks was arrested on charges of raping or sexually assaulting 11 women lured to his East Side apartment from 2005 to 2008. His female assistant was charged with helping him. At least four different women accused him of sexual assault. He allegedly lured the women to his apartment to audition for movie roles. Often, the women responded to a notice that Brooks had posted on Craigslist andjoseph-brooks-sexual-assault-charges flew to New York from across the United States at Brooks’ expense, the dis­trict attorney’s account said. He was indicted on June 23, 2009. He was being tried by Manhattan's state Supreme Court for 91 counts and charged with rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, assault, and other charges.

Two of the victims said they had been doped with date-rape drugs, sources said. Others believe their drinks were spiked. Toxicology results have been inconclusive. The first of the alleged assaults occurred in November 2006, and involved a 22-year-old woman who said she was sexually abused at the Carlyle Hotel. Another assault allegedly took place in Brooks’ apartment in May 2007. Three more took place over a two-week stretch near Brooks’ 70th birthday in March 2008, law enforcement sources said.

The grand jury heard more evidence on December 17, 2009, because two new witnesses came forward. However, Brooks died before he could be tried.

His assistant, Shawni Lucier, has pleaded guilty to a total 10 counts of felony and misdemeanor criminal facilitation, admitting she helped Brooks commit felony sex assaults -- including rape -- against 10 would-be starlets. Lucier's job was to arrange the young women's travel, and to weed out those who wanted to bring boyfriends and mothers -- and to ignore their phone calls afterward. She knew full well, she admitted, that he just wanted to give the "girls" wine, have them read from a lascivious script, and then pounce. She stated, "One girl came out drunk and stumbling... She would send people to meet Joe Brooks at 10 or 11 at night. Joe Brooks thought that was the magic hour and she guesses it was easier for him to seduce them."

Police reported on May 22, 2011, that Brooks was found dead in his Upper East Side apartment by a friend. A plastic dry cleaning bag was around Brooks' head, and a towel was around his neck; a helium tank with an attached hose and a suicide note were found nearby. Police officials would not dis­cuss the con­tents of the note. On May 23, 2011, the medical examiner ruled that Brooks had committed suicide, citing asphyxia by helium.

Brooks’ son, Nicholas, was accused of murder in the death of his girlfriend, Peruvian-American swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay. She was found dead, half-clothed and face up in the bath at Soho House, an elite club and hotel, after water began leaking through the floor below. Nicholas Brooks pleaded not guilty and is held without bail in the jail complex Rikers Island.

Theater credits

  • Metropolis (1989), West End musical — composer, co-lyricist
  • In My Life (2005), Broadway musical — writer, composer, lyricist


  • Invitation to a Wedding — (1983)
  • If Ever I See You Again — Director (1978)
  • You Light Up My Life — Director (1977)


So many nights, I'd sit by my window,
Waiting for someone to sing me his song.
So many dreams, I kept deep inside me,
Alone in the dark, now you've come along.

And you light up my life,
You give me hope, to carry on.
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song.

Rollin' at sea, adrift on the waters
Could it be finally, I'm turning for home
Finally a chance to say, "Hey, I Love You"
Never again to be all alone.

And you light up my life,
You give me hope, to carry on.
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song.

You, You light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song
It can't be wrong, when it feels so right

Cause you, you light up my life

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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 June 2011 08:18

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